Betsy DeVos is on her way to become the nation's top public school official as secretary of education after passing the Senate committee vote 12-11 along party lines.
DeVos, nominated by President Donald Trump shortly after he won the presidency, has faced stiff opposition from some Senate Democrats for being in favor of charter schools and vouchers for private schools.
"This is a committee of considerable differences of opinion. But it’s also a committee that has on big occasions been able to resolve those differences of opinion, usually in a cordial way," said Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the committee chairman, according to The Washington Post. "I’m sorry to say that we are not able to do that this time. We’re at the point where we have to express those disagreements with a vote."
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington tried to delay the committee vote to ask DeVos more questions, but Alexander overruled her motion to hold the vote.
Murray described the action as a "massive break" from regular decorum on the committee, which has been known to be somewhat bipartisan.
"The usual practices are being ignored here," she said, according to The Washington Post. "This nominee is being jammed through with corners being cut and with the minority being brushed aside, and I think that’s wrong."
"I have not been persuaded that Betsy DeVos will put students first if she were confirmed and I have not been persuaded that she has the experience, skills, understanding or vision to lead this critical department at a time when it is more important than ever," Murray added, according to The Huffington Post. "There is so much about Betsy DeVos’ record over the years that we can look to when we make this decision."
DeVos will likely pass the Republican-led Senate when it holds a full vote.